This summer, the United States experienced the worst blackout in its history. More than 50 million people were forced to put their lives on hold while power companies struggled to restore electricity to mass transit systems, office buildings, and residential areas in the Northeast. Even though the origin of the blackout has been traced to the utilities sector, there are measures that can be taken on the facility side to prevent power outages of any size.

The 14th annual Power Quality Exhibition & Conference, which takes place Nov. 4-6, 2003, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif., will allow attendees to discover more about advances in power quality products and policies from seminars, technical sessions, speakers, and exhibits on the trade show floor. Designed with the energy producers, manufacturers, plant and facility managers, engineers, and contractors in mind, the power quality conference sessions focus on the technical and business aspects of power quality to help companies save time and money and enhance power reliability.

The three-day conference begins bright and early Nov. 4 with the keynote presentation from Thomas Key, vice president of technology, EPRI-PEAC. The presentation, “A Look at the Last, and the Next, 25 Years of Power Quality,” is free to all attendees. Key, who is credited as the father of the CBEMA curve, will focus on the expansion of electronic equipment applications of the office environment, manufacturing industries, and home offices and appliances.

Throughout the conference, members of the power quality community can participate in various seminars and technical sessions. Participants can choose from three speakers at specific time slots shown in the conference schedule at right. Following the keynote presentation are three seminars that begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 4.

  • “The Cost of Power Quality,” presented by Jane Clemmenson-Thornton, IBM, offers a glimpse into the future of Internet-scale control systems and describes generalized virtual network systems architecture for control systems.

  • “UPS & On-site Generation System Compatibility & Integration,” presented by Kevin Collins, Piller, Inc., will focus on the considerations for selecting switchgear and controls, and sizing and specifying generation plant, equipment requirements, and characteristics.

  • “Batteries as a Single Point of Failure,” presented by Steve Cotton, Data Power Monitoring, will discuss some surprising statistics on the effects of downtime due to battery failure.

Kicking off the second morning of the conference are three two-hour technical sessions. Each session will also consist of paper presentations given by fellow members of the industry. These sessions include:

  • “Specifying & Purchasing Power Quality Equipment,” chaired by Richard Bingham, Dranetz-BMI, will address the selection of mitigation equipment in regards to the effectiveness of power quality phenomena elimination along with the economics of purchase, installation, and operating costs.

  • “UPS, ATS, and Backup Power Technologies,” chaired by John Sears, Liebert, will cover a wide range of power protection technologies, including the venerable lead-acid battery, rotary and static UPS equipment, and high-speed composite flywheels.

  • “Alternate Power Systems,” chaired by Jane Clemmenson-Thornton, IBM, offers a look at the technologies that influence power quality, including rotary flywheels, fuel cells, and wind turbines.

Professional Advancement Courses will be offered before the conference on Nov. 2-3 for those who want to further educate themselves or participate in a refresher course. These courses, ranging from 4 hr to 8 hr, cover IEEE Standards, power quality analysis, and arc flash.

EC&M's own Code expert Mike Holt will head up the course called “Grounding and Bonding for Safety and Power Quality.” Besides gaining a working knowledge of grounding and bonding for safety and power quality, you'll also learn how to correctly design, install, inspect, measure, and troubleshoot grounding systems to ensure safe and proper operation of critical electrical systems.

Because of the recent events in the Northeast, power quality professionals will likely discuss how to prevent power failure and outages. By attending the conference, you can learn about proactive measures that could save you the heartache and trouble of repairing a power system after the fact. For more information or to register for the Power Quality Exhibition & Conference, visit